Claire Beale on Advertising: Technology means posters will stick around

I could tell you about Cannes – the Cannes Advertising Festival. But really most of London’s adland seems barely to have noticed that this is Cannes week.

With jobs being cut, budgets slashed and salaries frozen, many agencies have clearly decided that a few days sipping Domaine d’Ott on the terraces overlooking the Croisette is a tad, um, unseemly in the circumstances.

More on Cannes next week, but for the moment let’s assume that it will be a quiet affair and that most of London’s creatives will spend the coming week drinking nothing more exotic than warm lager outside Soho pubs without troubling the display in their awards cabinet.

So, on to a subject of a firmly pedestrian nature. Now, you won’t be surprised to hear that in an advertising industry obsessed with Twitter, apps, widgets and all the other sugary strands that make up the candyfloss of popular culture, the world’s oldest advertising medium has been left looking distinctly démodé. Posters. Who’d be in posters when there’s a new social media consumer to be hunted down and one-on-oned with?

True, significant pockets of the poster industry have successfully hauled themselves bang up to date and are doing some funky advertising stuff right now on a street corner near you.

More of which later. But no question, posters are having a tough time of it at the moment.

Revenues have fallen by 20 per cent and an awful lot of the bog-standard roadside stock is creaking in the wind of change. Tired and inflexible in a media world of real-time communication and interactivity, the neighbourhood poster site is in the rough.

Take the story of Aviva. Last week the insurance company claimed that its recent poster campaign had been allowed to stay up on sites well beyond the paid-for period because no other advertisers wanted to buy the space. Cue the doom-merchants hailing the story as further evidence that posters are on their uppers.

The trouble is there aren’t many opportunities for agencies to prove their painfully cutting-edge credentials when it comes to posters. And marketing fashion is about dialogue and interaction. You can’t have a relationship with a poster site.

And then there’s the recession. While all media are suffering, those that offer careful targeting, transactional opportunities and data capture are suffering less. The poster medium on the whole struggles to tick some of these key boxes.

All of which explains why you will now start to see fewer poster sites when you’re out and about. The industry is in culling mode. It can’t sell all the inventory it has, so some of the one-time banker stock is being taken down and thrown on the bonfire. Hundreds of big poster sites will be disappearing from our streets over the coming months, and the ones that are left will be smarter, cleaner and more creatively ripe.

It’s just the sort of detoxing the medium desperately needs if it is to finally throw off its old-fashioned and murky image and stand confidently alongside today’s modern media.

The poster industry has already embraced digital signage – in intent if not in universal fact – meaning moving images and better targeting. But it’s really the collision of the mobile phone and the poster site that offers the most exciting opportunities.

From scanning bar codes on posters with your mobile in order to be sent money-off coupons to LCD screens that allow you to change the way a poster looks by using your phone’s touchscreen. Suddenly it’s a medium with new creative and interactive possibilities.

And as those adlanders not in Cannes might acknowledge, posters are still the main advertising medium likely to grab your attention outside a pub.

Best in Show: Honda (Wieden & Kennedy)

At the beginning of the year Honda closed its Swindon factory. It didn’t want to make redundancies, despite the collapse of the car market, so it shut up shop for a few months.

The decision was clear evidence of a brand that, when the crunch came, remained true to the values encapsulated in its marketing.

Now Swindon has reopened and Honda has launched a marketing campaign through Wieden & Kennedy to celebrate. This is one of the posters, but there are some lovely press executions too, with well-crafted copy and a clean |design. Isn’t it nice when brands do as they say?

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam